Many individuals with Tourette syndrome have mild symptoms and do not require medication. However, effective medications are available for those whose symptoms interfere with functioning. Neuroleptics are the most consistently useful medications for tic suppression; a number are available but some are more effective than others (for example, haloperidol and pimozide). Unfortunately, there is no one medication that is helpful to all people with Tourette syndrome, nor does any medication completely eliminate symptoms. In addition, all medications have side effects. Additional medications with demonstrated efficacy include alpha-adrenergic agonists such as clonidine and guanfacine. These medications are used primarily for hypertension but are also used in the treatment of tics.
Effective medications are also available to treat some of the associated neurobehavioral disorders that can occur in patients with Tourette syndrome. Recent research shows that stimulant medications such as methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine can lessen ADHD symptoms in people with Tourette syndrome without causing tics to become more severe. However, the product labeling for stimulants currently contraindicates the use of these drugs in children with tics/Tourette syndrome and those with a family history of tics.
Behavioral treatment such as awareness training and competing response training can also be used to reduce tics. Psychotherapy may be helpful as well. It can help with accompanying problems, such as ADHD, obsessions, depression and anxiety. Therapy can also help people cope with Tourette syndrome. For debilitating tics that don't respond to other treatment, deep brain stimulation (DBS) may help. DBS consists of implanting a battery-operated medical device (neurostimulator) in the brain to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas that control movement. Further research is needed to determine whether DBS is beneficial for people with Tourette syndrome.
Last updated: 3/6/2016
How can I find an expert who has knowledge and experience regarding a specific condition?
Although there is no list of experts for rare diseases, a fact sheet is available on our Web site with tips for finding healthcare professionals and researchers who have experience with a particular condition. Potential resources include patient advocacy groups, researchers conducting clinical trials, and authors of articles published in medical journals. Click here to view our fact sheet. If you are unable to locate an expert using these suggestions, please let us know.
Last updated: 9/29/2014
We hope this information is helpful. We strongly recommend you discuss this information with your doctor. If you still have questions, please